Author: jakerussell83

NFL preview magazines optimistic on Washington’s chances in 2021

 
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The Washington Football Team is on an upward trajectory, according to the nation’s top NFL preview periodicals.

For the Washington Football Team, 2020 was a year unlike any other in franchise history. The team tried to shake off an embarrassing 3-13 campaign in 2019 by hiring head coach Ron Rivera last January. A couple months later the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. Over last summer, the organization retired its Redskins nickname and faced a slew of sexual harassment allegations while owner Daniel Snyder was embroiled in a legal battle with his ownership partners. Not long after, Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. All that and the team hadn’t even played a down of football yet.

A 2-7 start eventually led to a 7-9 campaign and a surprising division title in the lowly NFC East with Washington ultimately falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field in the Wild Card round.

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HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS OF THE 2021 WFT DRAFT CLASS

(Screenshot via ESPN.com)

For the fifth straight year, the Washington Football Team went defense in the first round, selecting Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis to man the middle and play behind one of the best defensive lines in the league. The team picked its likely long-term answer at left tackle, added secondary and defensive end depth, selected a couple thousand-yard receivers, drafted a blocking tight end to compliment starter Logan Thomas and found its Nick Sundberg replacement at long snapper.

Enjoy getting to know them here through their college highlights.

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Redskins will have rough 2020 season but potential is there, NFL preview magazines say

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Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins is hoping to make a good impression with his new coaching staff as he enters his second season. Photo by Brian Murphy.

After a toxic 2019 season that saw a fan revolt unlike any in recent memory, the Washington Redskins underwent a culture change by firing team president Bruce Allen and hiring former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera brought over a lot of his Carolina staff to instill that culture. That also includes former players like linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. and quarterback Kyle Allen.

Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins showed progress at the end of what started out as a rough rookie campaign. This will be an important season to impress the new coaching staff and show off his true potential.

The Redskins rid themselves of several big names like star left tackle Trent Williams, who held out all of 2019 and was traded to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers and old friend Kyle Shanahan. The team also traded cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks and released cornerback Josh Norman and tight end Jordan Reed. Norman signed with the Buffalo Bills while Reed is still a free agent after missing the 2019 season following a concussion suffered in the preseason. Reed’s release and Vernon Davis’s retirement left the team’s tight end room bereft of talent.

Washington showed interest in tight end Austin Hooper but didn’t compete with the Cleveland Browns’s four-year, $44 million deal. The team also swung and missed on wide receiver Amari Cooper after reportedly offering more money than the Dallas Cowboys, where the star wideout ultimately re-signed for $100 million over five years.

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HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS OF THE 2020 REDSKINS DRAFT CLASS

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For the second year in a row, the Redskins took a local product with their first pick. This time it was edge rusher Chase Young, who is considered to be the best defensive player in the draft. (Image via ESPN/YouTube)

Round 1 – 2nd overall – Chase Young – Edge – Ohio State

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REDSKINS 2019 TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS: DAYS 1 and 2

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Quarterback Dwayne Haskins hands the ball off. (Photo by Jake Russell)

By Jake Russell

The Redskins are back for a new season, rolling out a more youthful, refurbished version of their 2018 selves. Seemingly gone are high expectations, replaced by cautious optimism for a future now rooted in young, untested talent.

As with recent years, the new edition of the 87-year-old franchise was met with little fanfare during its first two days of training camp in Richmond. Perhaps the quiet and lack of lofty projections are just what is needed for the young core to gel.

The team begins its preseason slate in less than two weeks. Here’s a breakdown of their four exhibition games:

Thursday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. — @ Cleveland Browns
Thursday, August 15, 7:30 p.m. — vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday, August 22, 7:30 p.m. — @ Atlanta Falcons
Thursday, August 29, 7:30 p.m. — vs. Baltimore Ravens

In the meantime, enjoy the sights of the first two training camp practices of the 2019 season. (more…)

Despite offseason moves, Redskins expected to finish 2019 in NFC East basement, according to NFL preview magazines

After selecting Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 overall, the Redskins hope the rookie is the quarterback of the future. Photo by Brian Murphy.

Based on the moves they made this offseason, the Washington Redskins should, at worst, be expected to finish around 7-9 in 2019. A 9-7 finish while fighting for a playoff spot may be viewed as their best-case scenario. The team addressed several needs since free agency began in March but only time will tell if they can make their way out of the .500 quagmire they’ve been stuck in the last four seasons.

The two biggest factors will be health, which has been the team’s downfall the last two seasons, and quarterback play. With Alex Smith unlikely to play in 2019 (and maybe ever again) due to a broken leg suffered last season and Colt McCoy still recovering from a less severe broken leg suffered just weeks later, the Redskins addressed the most important position on the roster with a trade for veteran Case Keenum and the selection of Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick in the draft.

Assuming star left tackle Trent Williams ends his holdout and returns at some point during training camp, the biggest questions heading into 2019 are: Who will start at quarterback and will the competition between Keenum and Haskins be decided legitimately? Four of the first five games are against playoff opponents, including the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Will Keenum be the starter so he can navigate the team through those early turbulent waters only to hand over the reigns to Haskins so he can sail calmer seas during his rookie voyage? Will Haskins be named the starter right away in order to put some more butts in the notoriously vacant FedEx Field seats? Or will Haskins be named the starter for Week 1 because he’s legitimately ready to play, early tests be damned?

Those questions will be answered in a couple months. But what fans can evaluate to this point is the team addressed pressing needs this offseason, such as safety (Landon Collins) and edge rusher (Montez Sweat). Even though they signed Ereck Flowers and drafted Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher, the left guard spot still appears unsettled. The team took a hit when inside linebacker Reuben Foster tore his ACL and LCL in May OTAs. The 2017 first-round pick was claimed by the Redskins last season amidst controversy and will miss the 2019 season. For the Redskins, that means another hole in the roster has opened up.

Despite an offseason that appears it will keep the Redskins afloat and at least semi-relevant in 2019, analysis from the top NFL preview magazines proves lots of doubt remains about this team. So much so, that Lindy’s, Athlon and Street & Smith’s all peg the Redskins for a last-place finish in the NFC East.

Keep reading to find out what else these reputable periodicals had to say about the 2019 iteration of the burgundy and gold.

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HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS OF THE 2019 REDSKINS DRAFT CLASS

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The Redskins chose to make Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins their next franchise quarterback with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (Screenshot via NFL.com)

Round 1 – 15th overall – Dwayne Haskins – QB– Ohio State

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PHOTOS: Maryland closes difficult 2018 season with 38-3 loss at Penn State

By Jake Russell

The weather in State College, PA was setting up well for the Maryland Terrapins as they closed out their regular season schedule against the 12th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.

With sleet pouring down to create a sloppy field at Beaver Stadium, the conditions were ripe for Maryland manage the tempo of the game since they’ve evolved into a primarily ground-based offense.

As recent history has indicated, the Terps proved to be no match against a Penn State team hosting its Senior Day. On Saturday, Maryland was dominated and beaten at its own game, with the Nittany Lions racking up 310 yards on the ground against an outmatched Terrapins defense on the way to a 38-3 blowout loss in Happy Valley. (more…)

PHOTOS: Maryland upsets Texas for second straight year

By Jake Russell

The Maryland Terrapins shocked the college football world last September when they handled the No. 23 Texas Longhorns, 51-41, in Austin.

Fast forward 364 days and the Terps were looking to do the same thing when they hosted 23rd-ranked Texas at FedEx Field Saturday afternoon in the second of a two-year home-and-home arrangement. This time, however, it would have to be under much different circumstances.

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Redskins 2018 training camp photos: Days 1 + 2

The Redskins opened up their sixth training camp at Richmond’s Bon Secours Training Center on Thursday with tempered crowds and quiet confidence.

A disappointing 2017 plagued by injuries led to a 7-9 record and marked the fourth time in five seasons the team missed the playoffs. The team rebounded with a solid performance in free agency and the draft. Now that camp has started, the time has come to show whether those moves will pay off or not.

Washington begins its preseason schedule against the New England Patriots on Thursday, August 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy my photos from the first two days of the Redskins’ 2018 training camp. (more…)